Donald Trump is predicting he can knock rival Ted Cruz out of the Republican presidential race by winning Tuesday’s primary here, and recent polling shows he’s in good shape.
Both Trump and Cruz are hitting the campaign trail hard in Indiana, making appearances Sunday and several more planned for Monday. Trump will hold two rallies the day ahead of the primary, in Carmel and South Bend. Cruz is holding five events, with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence — who recently endorsed him — joining him for at least two appearances.
The campaigning comes as recent polling shows Trump with a double-digit advantage over his competition in the Hoosier State, thought to be the last stand for Cruz, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, to block the businessman’s path to winning the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination outright and avoid a contested convention.
President Barack Obama, meanwhile, took aim at all the presidential candidates during his final White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington.
Here’s a look at the latest from a weekend in politics that included drama in Arizona and California and Malia Obama’s college choice:
Trump ahead in Indiana
If Cruz’s ability to stop Trump from reaching the 1,237 delegates it takes to clinch the Republican nomination hinges on Indiana, the latest polling is especially bad news for the Texas senator’s campaign.
Trump has 49% support to Cruz’s 34% and John Kasich’s 13% in the Hoosier State, per an NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist survey released Sunday.
If the poll is right, tweeted conservative anti-Trump pundit Erick Erickson, “not only is the primary process over, the GOP is too.”
He followed up: “South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, meanwhile, said on CBS’ ‘Face the Nation’ that he’s advising Cruz to continue even if he loses Indiana — saying the party is in the midst of a ‘civil war.'”
Trump was asked if he’d knock Cruz out by winning Indiana on “Fox News Sunday.”
His answer: “Yes, it’s over.”
“Indiana is so important and we have to win it,” Trump said later to a crowd of approximately 1,500 people packed into a theater later Sunday in Terre Haute, Indiana. “If we win Indiana, it’s over.”
One big challenge for Cruz: Conservative talk radio — a powerful, unified force against Trump in Wisconsin — isn’t rallying to Cruz’s side in Indiana.
“The audience is pretty damn smart, and they’re not coming to me to tell them what to do,” Tony Katz, a conservative talker who hosts WIBC’s morning show and has interviewed Cruz several times in recent days, said.
Cruz is shifting his emphasis to California, and looking for a rationale to remain in the race even if he loses Indiana. On Saturday, he spent a day away from Indiana — taking his announced running mate Carly Fiorina with him to California for the GOP convention there.
Obama’s mic drop
President Barack Obama saved his best jokes for his last White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday night.
He ended the night with a Kobe Bryant-esque mic drop and comment: “Obama out.”
Here are some of his best lines:
On paid speeches and the new $20 bills: “If this material works well, I’m gonna use it at Goldman Sachs next year. Earn me some serious Tubmans.”
A line Hillary Clinton will like: “Next year at this time, someone else will be standing here in this very spot. And it’s anyone’s guess who she will be.”
Cribbing Bernie Sanders’ favorite refrain: “We’ve got the bright new face of the Democratic Party here tonight, Mr. Bernie Sanders! Bernie, you look like a million bucks. Or to put it in terms you’ll understand, you look like 37,000 donations of $27 each.”
Poking Donald Trump: “There’s one area where Donald’s experience could be invaluable, and that’s closing Guantanamo. Because Trump knows a thing or two about running waterfront properties into the ground.”
Sanders’ $26 million April haul
Bernie Sanders raised $25.8 million in April — short of his campaign’s hauls of $44 million in March and $43.5 million in February.
The latest numbers could keep the Vermont senator ahead of Hillary Clinton — who has not yet released her April figures — in the Democratic fundraising race.
But the dip from the previous month comes as the contest approaches its last states to vote, with Sanders increasingly trailing Clinton in votes, pledged delegates and overall delegates, and suffering defeats in five out of six recent East Coast primaries, including New York.
His campaign hasn’t said how much cash Sanders currently has remaining in his campaign’s bank. That amount typically comes when he files his federal reports on the 20th of each month.
A defiant Sanders has insisted he’ll continue through California’s June 7 primary in a bid to win — or at least carry as much influence as possible into the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
At a Sunday afternoon news conference in Washington, Bernie Sanders described it like this: “A tough road to climb, but not an impossible road to climb.”
Sanders made clear, yet again, he has no plans to get out of the race before all the votes are cast in June. But he proceeded to make the argument that super delegates from states he won should back him.
Arizona, California GOP drama
Trump’s Arizona campaign chair on Saturday night accused Republican Party officials in Mesa, Arizona, of fixing the vote to favor Ted Cruz and his allies after winning only an estimated dozen of the state’s 58 national delegates.
Jeff DeWit, the state treasurer, pointed to alleged flaws in the web-based application used by the Arizona GOP to handle the at-large delegate vote, accusing top officials of purposefully squeezing out would-be Trump delegates.
“Trump got cheated,” DeWit yelled as supporters around him raged at the results. “Somebody messed with the system.”
It was a weird scene: Voting delegates at the gathering in Mesa were instructed by organizers to log on to NeverHillary.SimplyVoting.com, where they were presented with a selection of slates, including one strictly for Trump backers, a “unity” ticket featuring his supporters and top state officials, and two more for Cruz and John Kasich, whose campaigns cooperated and presented nearly identical names.
“The people of Arizona got cheated, I got cheated, and the Trump delegates got cheated,” former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, whose name was not listed on the Trump slate as it appeared to delegates and failed to win election to the national convention, told reporters.
There was also drama in California on Friday, at the state’s GOP convention in Burlingame.
Protesters — some of whom wore bandanas over their faces and carried Mexican flags — blocked off the road in front of the Hyatt Regency here, forcing the GOP front-runner’s motorcade to pull over along a concrete median outside the hotel’s back entrance. Trump and his entourage got out and walked into the building.
“That was not the easiest entrance I’ve ever made,” Trump said once he began speaking at the convention, adding, “it felt like I was crossing the border.”
Malia Obama is headed to Harvard
Malia Obama, the older of President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama’s two daughters, will attend Harvard University.
She’ll begin there in the fall of 2017, after taking a gap year, the White House announced Sunday. She’ll be a member of the class of 2021.
Obama said at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday that his family plans to stay in Washington for two years after his presidency ends so that their youngest daughter, Sasha, can finish high school.
“Our decision has actually presented a bit of a dilemma because traditionally presidents don’t stick around after they’re done. And it’s something that I’ve been brooding about a little bit,” Obama joked during the comedy routine at the dinner, using it to launch into a video about what he’d do after leaving office — which featured Vice President Joe Biden and former House Speaker John Boehner.
He also joked that Michelle Obama is eager to “stay closer to her plot of carrots. She’s already making plans to see them every day.”